We attended the Grow Up Cannabis Conference & Expo on Friday, September 7th, and Saturday, September 8th in Niagara Falls, Ontario, at the Scotiabank Convention Centre.
The first of the two days of the Conference was opened with a talk by the keynote speaker Kevin O’Leary from Sharks Tank and Dragon’s Den. There were many other speakers throughout the entire 2 days, including a Grower’s Luncheon : Meeting of Minds where even “legendary guru of cannabis” himself Ed Rosenthal was speaking on the first day and an Indigenous Luncheon focusing on How Cannabis Companies Can Partner with Indigenous Nations on the second day. Both of these events were by Invite only and were well attended.
The range of topics for the seminars throughout the conference varied from investment, to compliance, legalization, cultivation, regulations, licensing, genotypes, hemp, temperature & humidity control, flooring, taxation, testing, energy management, robotics & bio stimulants, social responsibility, bugs & insect control, retail, lighting, scent control, security, recruitment, and new technologies in cannabinoid delivery methods, as well as many other topics. There was something for everyone. Generally the lectures were well attended on both days, and the speakers graciously remained after the talks to answer questions.
The Expo Hall was full of many vendors, and the two leading Sponsors; Advanced Nutrients, and Tweed made their presence memorable with large booths that were front and center when you walked into the Expo Hall. They were only too willing to give away their swag, and they both had exuberant young friendly greeters that would answer your questions about their respective products or point you to someone who could answer your questions if they couldn’t.
There was a Live Stage in the middle of the Expo that featured various speakers, from a “Live Rosin Extraction” demo, to a “New Grower To New Grower: Introduction To Cannabis” discussion by Weedstagram416, and a discussion about “The Influencer Phenomenon” by social phenomenon herself Marly Tweedledoob.
There was even an appearance by one of the TourBuds buses, the first luxury cannabis tour buses with activation by Hotbox outfitted for partying, which brought the final teams after a 24 hour overnight hacking session at Brainstorms in Toronto to the conference. The “Hackathon” fostered creative ideas and innovation to bring new solutions to the fast growing cannabis industry.
Also parked out front of the convention center was the converted NASCAR car trailer that houses the mobile facility for the company Molecular Science Corp. MSC is a Canadian laboratory services company that aims to deliver analytical testing and data-driven business intelligence to the growing cannabis economy. The last time we visited this trailer it was parked in the parking lot at the International Center in Toronto at the O’Cannabiz event back in May of this year. They had only recently started filling up the trailer with their testing equipment. This time we were greeted on our tour by many new scientific instruments in the trailer and an announcement they had signed another contract with a local Licensed Producer to test their products for pesticides and heavy metals.
Back in the Expo Hall there was a nice cross section of various cannabis related business from nutrient companies, to Licensed Producers, compliance, security, cannabis publications like High Canada! Magazine, Grow Opportunity, Dope Magazine, and Maximum Yield, legal delivery companies, growing media, lighting, air & humidity control, filtration, water enhancement, soil amendments, insecticides & pest control, building construction, packaging & labeling, scientific equipment & testing, flooring, souvenirs, legal firms, education, recruiters, various associations like Lift & Co, Grow Legally, Ontario First Nations Economic Development Association, even Health Canada had a booth at this show. This is the first appearance by Health Canada at a Cannabis event since the legalization process started at least two years ago. Too be expected the representatives were run off their feet trying to answer all the questions that they were fielding over the two days. It wasn’t until late Saturday afternoon when the show was winding down when yours truly was able to ask his questions, which the representative gratuitously answered.
There was an official Grow Up Networking Reception on Friday night at Elements on the Falls, a restaurant located on the brink of the Canadian falls overlooking the Falls that was serving Hors d’Oeuves, and a self serve table full of various cheeses, breads, crackers, and fruit. The exclusive networking event was open to speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, conference delegates and VIP growers. I even got to chat with Ed Rosenthal, while watching the Falls behind light up with LED lighting, and fireworks shooting off in the sky. It was a great time and the feeling was definitely high.
The conference and expo was an enjoyable event and was a great time to see old friends and business acquaintances that we have made at other various events over the years. I was told by many people that there was a lack of home grower type vendors at this year’s show vs. last year. The focus seemed to be skewed towards the commercial grower and not the home grower, but there was still swag for everyone.